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Duran Duran keeps Paso Robles lit up well into the night 

Nile Rodgers & Chic

Nile Rodgers & Chic. Photos by Brittany App.

Nile Rodgers & CHIC start the night off with a bang

–Although concert-goers have been known to skip the opening act and take their seats just before the headliner, fans that turned out for the Duran Duran concert knew better than to miss out on even one song of what essentially was a two-headliner evening. Starting with their very first song and continuing through their nearly 70 minute set, Nile Rodgers & CHIC went far beyond “warming up” the crowd Wednesday night at the California Mid-State Fair as they had fans up on their feet and dancing in the aisles. And, when Duran Duran took the stage, the party didn’t stop until nearly 11 p.m.

Nile Rodgers & CHIC belted out their disco favorites including Good Times; I Want Your Love, and Le Freak. Throughout their set, the band delighted the audience with some of Rodgers’ greatest songwriting and producing achievements from Diana Ross’ I’m Coming Out and Upside Down and Madonna’s Like a Virgin to David Bowie’s Let’s Dance and Sister Sledge’s We Are Family. Interacting with their fans, encouraging them to sing along and, at one point, bringing audience members up on stage to join in on the fun, Rodgers and CHIC put on a party to remember.

Next up, Duran Duran opened their set with the title track of their newest album and the name of the concert tour – Paper Gods. With set designs that included laser lights, fog clouds, and video screens filled with color and black and white images of the band in action throughout the night, lead singer Simon Le Bon, bassist John Taylor and drummer Roger Taylor delivered such hits as Wild Boys and Hungry Like the Wolf.

Nile Rodgers & Chic. Photos by Brittany App.

Nile Rodgers & Chic. Photos by Brittany App.

Missing from the band was keyboardist Nick Rhodes, who left the tour earlier this month due to a family emergency. California native MNDR, a singer, songwriter, and record producer, is standing in for Rhodes at this time as Duran Duran continues the third leg of their Paper Gods tour in the United States. Dom Brown was dynamic with his electric guitar, while back-up singers Anna Ross and Jessie Wagner did double-time as dancers and gave the crowd another reason to stay on their feet.

Throughout their lengthy career, 14 of Duran Duran’s singles have placed in the UK’s Top 10, 21 have landed on the Billboard Hot 100, and the band has sold upwards of 100 million records. Since the 1980’s, the chart-topping dynamos continue to deliver the goods and entertain fans world-wide. Midway through their Mid-State Fair set, Le Bon brought Rodgers back up on stage to accompany Duran Duran in a couple more songs including Notorious and the hit song from the Paper Gods album, Pressure Off. The music sensations have been working together in one capacity or another for 33 years.

Duran Duran kept things going with a Planet Earth/Space Oddity David Bowie tribute, Ordinary World, I Don’t Want Your Love, and crowd favorites The Reflex and Girls on Film. The Paso Robles fans did not want the night to end and were treated to an encore performance of Save a Prayer that had cell phone flashlights held high in the air and Rio, complete with bouncing beach balls passing through the crowd.

A standing ovation was a given – fans were on their feet most of the night anyway – but the applause amplified as the final song came to an end. The band turned that applause around, giving the audience their own show of appreciation and thanks. Thank you, Duran Duran, for a night to remember!

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About the author: Reporter Meagan Friberg

Meagan Friberg is a reporter for the Paso Robles Daily News and A-Town Daily News.

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